A Friday Full Of Fridays: Friday The 13th Part III

Welcome to a Friday Full Of Fridays! In celebration of Friday April 13th, 2012, here at DreadWorld we are going to take a look at each film from the franchises initial run (meaning we are going to ignore Freddy v. Jason and the Remake). I'll be posting a short review, a reviewette if you will, every hour on this momentous day. The posts will be in reverse order of awesomeness, meaning we will be counting backwards from, what I believe to be the worst film in the series, to the film I believe to be the best. Welcome and enjoy the ride!

In the Third Dimension!!!!!

Friday The 13th - Part III

The first of many gimmicky type experiments for a franchise that spent more time trying to come up with superficial ways to keep people interested rather than focusing on the quality of the films. Despite what some younger folks might think, 3D is nothing new to film. Different types of 3D had been tried with film since the 50s. However it wasn't until the early 80s that studios figured out how to mass market the gimmick and make it profitable. Hence the red/blue glasses that you may come across at a yard sale. Unfortunately the quality of the 3D was rather disappointing and the fad had faded away by the middle of the decade.

The Friday franchise took its stab at 3D with it's third installment. Much like the other 3D films of the decade, the gimmick was just a vehicle to use a bunch of uninspired sight gags. Prepare to see a yo-yo drop in your face, various handles pointed at you and a really fake eye ball squirt in your general direction. That's really all the gimmick brought to the franchise. the set ups for the 3D were obvious and the pay offs were for the most part, Veras death not withstanding, disappointing.

As a regular Friday film, this is the film where the series settles into its regular patterns. The characters are really defined by their stereotypes. As a viewer you know what to expect. Kids - Check. The Lake - Check. Lots of killing - check. It's also the film where Jason obtains his infamous hockey mask, slaughtering chubby prankster Shelly in the process. Jason as a character isn't quite what he would become later in the series. He is still very human here. He runs, he feels pain, even letting out some pained grunts at one point. We also get the beginnings of what would become the "body discovery" part of the film, where are protagonist runs thought the house or cabin discovering all her dead friends in a short period of time.

The film is really all about the gimmick though. The actual characters here are the weakest in the series yet, and maybe of all time (with Part V coming close). Our final girl, Chris is by far the weakest "final girl" yet. She overcomes Jason more out of his stupidity than her cleverness or guts. The rest of the cast are all forgetable, except for maybe Shelley, and that's only because he was the funny, fat one. The actor who plays who plays Rick looks to be about 40.

There are plenty of other issues with this film besides the cast though. Harry Manfredini, who layered brilliant sparse, string based arrangements behind the first two films decides to change things up a bit here. Maybe it was the "futuristic" 3D gimmick, but Manfredini decides to break out the 80s Duran Duran Casio keyboard at various times throughout the film. It sounds awful and doesn't fit with the overall tone of the series.

This film also has one of the weaker endings in the series. I can't even begin to explain what happens. Chris has a 5 minute dream that serves no purpose other than show Mrs. Voorhees jumping out of the water.

Friday III is still an entertaining film. It certainly scared up plenty of box office back in the day. It develops the patterns that as fans we would know and love. Unfortunately it would also begin to develop things (weak actors, gimmicks) that we would come to hate.

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